By: Andre Ward, CityLimits
“We witness firsthand the challenges that our older participants face when they come to us, usually because they no longer have family to turn to after such long periods of incarceration: physical health issues that might be less severe if treated properly sooner; unaddressed trauma, greatly exacerbated by incarceration; lack of financial resources; and homelessness.”
The first person to die on Rikers Island this year was 65-year-old Marvin Pines. Mr. Pines, who suffered from seizures, was held in the North Infirmary Command, a unit for people with acute medical conditions and disabilities, after he had pleaded guilty in a non-violent case directly tied to his addiction. His death while in custody is a sobering reminder of the dangers that incarceration poses to our seniors.
The numbers of aging people in prisons across New York State have climbed steadily over decades even as the overall prison population has fallen, due to harsh sentencing laws and a parole process that focuses entirely on peoples’ past actions, as opposed to their current state of rehabilitation and remorse….